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In the Nation

Ex-policeman executed in Fla.

STARKE, Fla. - A former police officer who murdered nine people during a 1986 crime rampage was executed Tuesday after his attorneys' last-minute appeals were rejected.

Manuel Pardo, 56, was pronounced dead at Florida State Prison at 7:47 p.m., about 16 minutes after the lethal-injection process began. His attorneys had tried to block the execution by arguing that he was mentally ill.

Pardo wrote a final statement that was distributed to the media, in which he said he never killed any women - he was convicted of killing three females - but "accepted full responsibility for killing six men."

Officials said most of Pardo's victims were involved with drugs. Pardo contended he was doing the world a favor by killing them over a three-month period in 1986. - AP

Change of plans for King-site fix

WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed a plan Tuesday to remove a disputed inscription from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, rather than cut into the granite to replace it with a fuller quotation.

Salazar said he had reached a deal with King's family and the National Park Service to remove a paraphrase from King's "Drum Major" speech by carving grooves over the lettering to match existing marks in the sculpture.

Critics including poet Maya Angelou complained after the memorial opened in 2011 that the paraphrased quotation took King's words out of context, making him sound arrogant. The paraphrase reads: "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

The full quotation was taken from a 1968 sermon about two months before King was slain. It reads: "Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter." - AP

Feeling lucky on 12/12/12?

With a once-a-century date arriving Wednesday, some people across the United States are betting on good fortune for 12/12/12.

A Michigan sixth grader will put aside her nerves and get her ears pierced on her 12th birthday. Two law enforcement officials will exchange wedding vows at 12:12 p.m. in Pittsburgh's federal courthouse. And gamblers can take advantage of promotions some casinos will be using to lure in patrons.

Biggest of all, fans will feel lucky to see music's superstars share a stage Wednesday in New York's Madison Square Garden. The charity show for Sandy victims has been dubbed the "12-12-12" concert and will include Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, and Bon Jovi. - AP